Now that rumors are hitting the street on a daily basis, it is hard to ignore the possibility that Apple is making a smaller screened device with a lower price tag. Just today, it was reported that Apple plans to use a thinner, cheaper touch screen on the supposed 7.85-inch display and other specifications include that it will come with 8 GB of storage and will cost less than $250.
Now, Apple Insider has reported that analyst Ben Reitzes with Barclays Equity Research believes that an iPad mini would help Apple promote tablets in the education and e-books market.
In a note to investors on Tuesday, Reitzes said, “We do not feel that a smaller, lower priced tablet will dilute the quality of the iPad brand and iOS ecosystem either, despite prior comments by the company.” Either Apple is holding a gun to his head, or the research firm has had a change of heart.
The same thing happened to me. When I started hearing rumors about a smaller screened iPad, I scoffed. The whole point of the iPad is the size of the screen. Why would anyone want to use something that is not as good as an iPad? As time and rumors have gone by, I’ve begun to see how an iPad mini could be a benefit. It would be lighter, smaller and more efficient at mobility than its parent tablet. Some apps may seem crowded on a 7-inch screen, but most would translate well to the smaller landscape. The argument that an iPad mini would fragment the App Store has been by the rumor that the screen would have the same pixel density of 1024 x 768 as the first and second-generation iPads.
In addition to benefiting the education market, Reitzes believes a smaller iPad would increase sales among gamers. Although the reason why is not mentioned, Apple Insider reports that Reitzes feels that iOS gaming will continue to become a bigger platform for Apple in the future. If more games like N.O.V.A. 3 come to iOS, I can believe that to be true.
A smaller iPad could potentially reach more than 350 million users by 2015. Although there is a chance that the iPad mini could “cannibalize” sales of the traditional iPad, Reitzes believes it will be worth it in exchange for increasing Apple’s “total addressable market” and dealing with lower-priced competitors.